Objective. Blood flow is one such available observable promoting a wealth of physiological insight both individually and in combination with other metrics.

Approach. Near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and, to a lesser extent, diffuse correlation tomography (DCT), have increasingly received interest over the past decade as noninvasive methods for tissue blood flow measurements and imaging. DCS/DCT offers several attractive features for tissue blood flow measurements/imaging such as noninvasiveness, portability, high temporal resolution, and relatively large penetration depth (up to several centimeters).

Main results. This review first introduces the basic principle and instrumentation of DCS/DCT, followed by presenting clinical application examples of DCS/DCT for the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of diseases in a variety of organs/tissues including brain, skeletal muscle, and tumor.

Significance. Clinical study results demonstrate technical versatility of DCS/DCT in providing important information for disease diagnosis and intervention monitoring.

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Published in Physiological Measurement, v. 38, no. 4, p. R1-R26.

© 2017 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

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The document available for download is the authors' post-peer-review final draft of the article.

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Funding Information

We acknowledge support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01-CA149274, R21-AR062356, and UL-1RR033173 Pilot Grant. We also acknowledge support of Research Funds from the American Heart Association Grant-In-Aid #16GRNT30820006, National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant 3048112770, National Science Foundation (NSF) 1539068, the National Key Research and Development Program of China 2016YFC0101600 and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) 61675039.